The Six of DMS ’66 Fund: Alumni Chart a Course for Women in Medicine

David Zamierowski, MD, and the other men in Dartmouth Medical School’s Class of ’66 weren’t sure what to make of the six women in their midst. “It was an oddity,” explains Zamierowski, an inventor of surface dressings and surgical wound devices and a retired plastic surgeon, “because the majority of us came from undergraduate institutions that were all male as well. It was the first time in our professional lives that we had women in the classroom.”

But by the time they left Hanover, the members of the Class of ’66 largely felt like family. “Those were two of the most important years in our lives,” says Suzie Boulter, MD, a longtime instructor of pediatrics at Geisel and a past president of the N.H. Pediatric Society. “We weren’t exactly treated the same as the men, but the six of us women felt privileged to be there. Cocooned in the same house together, we really bonded.”

“It was a unique sorority,” says Sarah Donaldson, MD, the Catharine and Howard Avery Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Stanford University School of Medicine, “and the men were accepting of us in general. We studied with them, hung out with them, and made some very good friends.”

“Most of us felt like these women came to be our sisters,” says Zamierowski.

Recognizing that women in medicine today still face particular challenges, the Class of ’66 established the Six of DMS ’66 Fund at Geisel in 2017, in honor of their pioneering classmates and their 50th reunion. With support from donors like Boulter, Donaldson, Les Reid, Zamierowski, and others, the Fund subsidizes programs that promote women’s careers in medicine and advocacy for women.

Fighting Bias

“Addressing biases begins with awareness,” says Roshini Pinto-Powell, MD, a professor of medicine and of medical education, and faculty lead for the Geisel Allies of Women in Medicine (AWIM) student group which the Six of DMS ’66 fund supports. “The Fund has given us the ability to create programs dedicated to awareness and to creating a better, more equitable society.” Recent AWIM sessions included a student-led presentation on maternal mortality in the United States and a panel discussion with Geisel faculty about the importance of allyship in medicine.

One of the most popular sessions hosted by AWIM was a two-part series on conflict engagement and microaggressions led by Nan Cochran, MD, an associate professor of community and family medicine and of The Dartmouth Institute. A microaggression is defined as a subtle comment or behavior that communicates hostile, derogatory, or unwelcome messages toward members of underrepresented groups. Participants engaged in small-group scenario-based practice and learned skills for responding to emotionally charged interactions.

“The microaggression workshop generated so much interest we realized we need to spread it far and wide,” says Pinto-Powell. When Zamierowski learned about the initiative, he agreed. In June of 2021, he made a second generous gift to Geisel, this time to the Medical Education Innovation Fund for Bias Awareness. With his support, content from the workshop will be expanded, formalized, and integrated into the Geisel curriculum.

Donaldson notes that “women in medical school don’t need special handling, but they do still need support, open doors, and advocates.”

For Zamierowski, inspiration to help comes not only from his medical school classmates but also from his wife, Marilyn Zamierowski, PhD, who postponed her own career in science in order to support her husband’s.

“More change is needed, and I want things to keep getting better for women,” he says.

To learn more and make a gift to the Six of DMS’66 fund visit

Written by Lauren Seidman